Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The Big Sneeze

God bless you. Bless you. Gesundheit. Salud. Make sure you wipe that up when you’re finished. For every person there is a different response to the common sneeze.

It’s difficult to outline the roots of why we feel a need to say anything at all. Most likely, though, it comes from the ancient Romans. The Romans held the belief that when someone sneezed, that person was expelling evil spirits from his or her body. In reply, others would invoke some sort of blessing to wish the person luck in ridding himself or herself of the evil.

I started thinking about this today when a co-worker of mine sneezed and I instinctively said, “God bless you.” Those really are some powerful words. Do I realize what I’m saying when I ask the God of the entire universe to bless someone?

Well, it got me thinking about the whole sneeze thing, so I did some research just to make sure I had my facts straight. What a thing to research! I found out that, according to the dictionary, the act of sneezing is an attempt by the body to expel air to get rid of the irritating bodies (i.e., dust, pollen, strong perfume, etc).

This new vein of research follows directly on the heels of some especially forceful prayers of mine. I’ve been asking God frequently for a revelation of the cross of Christ. I keep expecting to have a dynamite, soul-shaking experience, but instead I’m finding that it comes little by little in a hundred different ways.

At this point you may be asking yourself, what in the world does sneezing have to do with a revelation of the cross? Let me explain.

When God fashioned Adam and Eve, they were absolutely sinless. Then within a short amount of time, Eve was deceived, Adam disobeyed, and sin sprang into the picture. Essentially, God now had this dreadful irritation to deal with. What was God’s solution? God’s answer was to send His son, Jesus, to die on the cross.

II Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us….”

Remember the definition, that the act of sneezing is an attempt by the body to expel air to get rid of the irritating bodies? Mark recorded the following concerning Jesus on the cross: “With a loud cry, Jesus breathed His last” (Mark 16:37). There on the cross, having become the essence of God’s irritation, Jesus blew our sin away.

Then think about another aspect: doesn’t it feel great when you stop sneezing? Your head seems a little clearer and your whole body just feels good -- even if it is just for a moment! It’s a purifying act. Because of the cross, we have been purified, times of refreshing come from God, and we embrace the cross and repent.

Peter preached to the crowd shortly after the day of Pentecost and implored them to do this very thing:

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord (Acts 3:19).

So the next time someone near you lets go with one of those ogre-ish sneezes or even a dainty “sneezelet”, rather than merely doing your social duty, stop and pray that the Lord will open their eyes to see what Jesus accomplished for them on the cross. Take the opportunity to pray that they will repent and turn to God so they can know those times of refreshing.

And the next time you sneeze, remember to thank God for the real blessing, salvation purchased by Christ’s death and resurrection.

Copyright © Paul Dailey. Used by permission.

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